Friday, June 21, 2024

Black Romance Books to Read this Summer


Summer is the perfect time to read. If you have any vacation plans or are on summer break. I am spending part of my summer reading books. Just like the when I was a kid and had a summer reading list. I have read so many books in the Spring. But the books I read or am reading are excellent for summer too. Many of these books revolve around weddings, vacations, or celebratory events. Some are spicier than others. Each has at least one Black main character. Which makes it perfect to read while you are on vacation. 

Contains affiliate links and widgets from Collective Voice and Books Amillion in which I earn a small commission for you clicking and or purchasing any of these items. Thank you for your support!

Make a Scene by Mimi Grace

I just finished reading this book. It was one of my favorite books. Retta, a baker in the book, gets blindsided by the engagement announcement of her cousin and exes. Their engagement has made things awkward for her. She hopes to find a fake boyfriend without looking bitter about it. When she goes on a blind date, she mistakes Duncan has her date. She goes on dates, but nothing pans out. In desperation, she asks her the owner of a business next door. Duncan is a boxer and trainer who owns a boxing studio. In return for a parking spot, he agrees to act as her boyfriend during the wedding events. He accepts but is curious about the reason she needs a date. She neglects to tell him about her situation with the bride and groom.

Where to Find the Book: Here  Here or at your Library 

The Neighborhood Favor by Kristina Forest

Lily’s career differs from where she wants it to be right now. She wants to be an editor of children’s books, but she is stuck in a job with no promotion. The only thing that brings her true contentment is her deep admiration for the works of one author. One day, she emails the author about how she loves his book. They chat over a course of time. She developed feelings for him. He feels the same but breaks it off. 

Lily now feels sad and angry that he did that to her. But she still likes him. On, top of that, her sisters are setting her up with guys she is not compatible with or likes. Their matchmaking has increased since her sister got married. She asks her hot new neighbor Nick Brown to be her date. Lily feels she is drawn to him. The reason is that Nick Brown is the author she was emailing. Nick finds out Lily is the one who emailed him months ago. To keep from being exposed and breaking her heart again, he does not tell her. He also refuses to be her date but tells her he will help her find someone. Nick struggles to keep his promise because he still has feelings for Lily. 

One of the best I have read is an excellent summer read. I enjoyed reading this book and seeing Lily and Nick get out of their shells. They both are cute yet socially awkward. I also love reading about their families. Their families give insight into how they behave. Lily has such a sweet and close family. Nick has no contact with his family.

This book is one of my favorite ones. I like it so much I want to read it again. 

Where to find this book: Here, and Here 

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon  

Samiah Brooks never thought someone would catfish her. In addition, she had no idea that the man she had feelings for was seeing two other women, named London and Taylor. Samiah also never thought someone would record her discovery and put it online. Now Samiah, London, and Taylor are in the spotlight. Instead of letting it get them down, the three ladies decide to agree. For the next six months, they will focus on themselves. No boyfriends or dating. 

Samiah’s goal is to work on her app. While working on her app, she meets the hot Daniel at work. She thinks he is attractive and has boyfriend material. But is he genuine?


Where to find the book: Here or at your local library. 


The Fake Boyfriend Fiasco by Talia Hibbert 

Nik, a footballer, is unfamiliar with being turned down by others. Until he meets Aria. Aria doesn’t acknowledge his existence. Since he does not take rejection well, he decides to romance her with money and a trip to a villa. In exchange, she will have to be his fake girlfriend. 

Where to find the book: Here, Here, and at your local Library. 

Only for the Week by Natasha Bishop 

Janelle is dealing with her older sister marrying her ex. She does not have hard feelings about it, but she has feelings about her sister being a Bridezilla.  She nags and puts her sister down. Janelle keeps it together by taking the high road since it is her sister’s big day. She also does not want her mother to think she is upset that her sister is marrying her ex-boyfriend. Janelle finds solace in the best man, named Rome. They agree to keep it a secret and only for the week of the wedding. Of course, the two regret making this choice. 

I like how Rome defends and helps Janelle because she is trying hard to keep the peace with her sister and mother. He tries his best to make sure she enjoys herself. 

Where to find the book: Here, Here, or at your local library. 

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory 


Olivia Monroe just moved to LA to start her own Law firm. She has a lot on her plate trying to get new clients, so dating is the last thing on her mind. One day she meets a handsome man at a hotel bar. They start a conversation about dessert which someone how leads to flirting. She later runs into him and an event and realizes that he is the hotshot, Senator Max Powell. 

Oliva has no desire to get into a relationship with a public figure. She tries to avoid him, but he sends her a delicious chocolate cake. She can resist and decides to give him a chance. By going on dates with him she realizes that he is not a stuck-up politician but a sweet and funny guy. They decide to keep their relationship a secret, but Max decides to go public. Once they go public with their love affair, all hell breaks loose. 

Max Powell will be an excellent leading senator once he lightens up.  Olivia is a fun yet career-minded woman with a sweet tooth These two were definitely compatible. 

Where to find the book: Here, Here, or at your local library. 

Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell 

Savvy Sheldon is focusing on renovating her family home and getting a promotion. She is also trying to please her boyfriend, Jason. Jason one day decides to finally tell her she has let herself go and that he needs an "upgrade". This devastates her so much that she decides to do a makeover. This includes eating better, exercising, and putting more effort into how she looks.  While reeling from the breakup and trying to start over she meets a mysterious yet dirty-looking man. She soon finds out he is a contractor who is renovating one of her neighbor's homes. 

Savvy is a sweet woman who loves her family and friends. She tries hard to please her mom and not disappoint her. This is why she tries hard to get a promotion and to be the best. I feel that may be why she tries hard to improve her image, especially after such a terrible breakup. With that being said she does face body shaming, and this may be hard for those who have experienced it. 

Where to find the book: Here, Here, and Here

The Worst Best Man 

Lina is left at the altar by her groom. The best man, Max takes responsible for it. Later Lina must work with Max. Lina still has hard feelings about him since her failed relationship. 

Where to find the book: HereHere, and at your local library. 

Insert Groom Here by K. M. Jackson 

Eva Ward has received the embarrassment of her life. On a morning TV show about her finances, Kevin announces he does not want to marry her. Eva tries to hold it together with embarrassment, planting a smile. He tells her they are “moving too fast.” She tries to take control of the situation on camera, but behind the scenes she is wretched. She is concerned about disappointing her mother and the plans she made. The plans for her personal and professional life.

Instead of losing her chance at wedding her dreams, she tells him she “will have her wedding, with or without him.” “Insert groom here” is what she says. After her outburst, the cameraman, Aiden, follows her to the green room. Aiden films her backstage breakdown and that is when things get complicated.   

A day later, when approached by Aidan and Carter, who work at the morning show network, they want her to be a reality star who finds her groom. She has eight weeks to date an eligible bachelor, find the one, and then have a summer wedding. Straightlaced, Eva is reluctant and does not want to make a fool of herself again. But her mother persuades her to do it to revamp her image after her on-air breakdown.  

Eva knows this won’t be easy because she likes to be in control. Now she has to put her reputation in the hands of Aidan. Their mutual attraction will make their work arrangement hard.

I like how Eva is strong-willed and knows what she wants. Aidan is more laid back and passionate. Aidan’s personality helps break down the walls Eva built. They balance each other. 


Where to find the book:  Here or at your local library. 


Now that you have a few suggestions, you can grab a book, or your favorite summer beverage, sit back, and relax. 

Other books to read: 

Music Themed Books

Must-Read Books from Black Women

Spring Romance Books to Read

Spring themed Mysteries

Friday, June 7, 2024

Get The Ultimate Summer Bucket List Now: Over 30 Affordable Activities to Do This Summer

As June comes to a close, you start pondering additions to your summer bucket list. You reminisce about the fun activities you did when you were young. Then you make a list of new things you want to try. But you realize you have little time to complete everything you want before September or October.

I came up with over 30 summer goals you can do. These ideas are affordable and allow you to enjoy the season. I included indoor and outdoor ideas. When people ask how your summer was, you can say it was amazing!

Summer Bucket List: Outdoor Activities 

1. Go to a Baseball Game. 

Support your local high school baseball or even little league baseball games. They will be glad for the support, and you can have a nice family outing. 

2. Go to a drive-through or outdoor movie 

Some places have outdoor movie theaters. Find out if there are any local ones close to you.  

3. Watch Fireworks Around the Fourth of July. 

There will be a lot of free fireworks displays you can see. But most summer events start the evening off with fireworks. Check out your local newspaper or town website to see what events are happening in your hometown.  

4. Go for a swim 

Whether you swim in a kiddie pool, indoor pool, or the ocean, you can enjoy a cool swim. 

5. Go to a music festival. 

Spring and summer are the time people have concerts or festivals. You can see local talent or big-name stars at these festivals. 

6. Go on a road trip

Take your best friend or your family on a road trip. If you don’t want to travel far, you can go to a local spot you have not been to.

7. Camp out 

You can go to a campsite, or you can camp out in your own backyard. 

8. Make s' mores 

Nothing seems more like summer than making a bonfire and roasting s' mores. Make a gourmet version by adding your favorite fruit and cookies together.  

9. Have a water balloon fight 

10. Go Fishing 

Even though you may not be an expert fisher, you can try! It may surprise you what you may catch! 

11. Attend a local Farmers Market 

 I know going to the farmer’s market does not sound spectacular, but it can be useful. Discover the freshest produce and goods for cooking nutritious meals. A bonus is you are supporting local farmers and vendors. 

12. Attend a Yard Sale or Estate Sale  

In the summer churches or local organizations hold a lot of yard sales. This is a good time to support local charities. 

 13. Go to the Beach  

Take your beach bag and your beach essentials. Enjoy the water and the sun with your family or go solo. 

14. Host a Cookout or Barbeque  

If you have a grill, you can cook some of your favorite foods. You can invite your friends over. You can ask them to bring a dish, drink, or snack if they want. For those who don’t have a grill, you can borrow or rent one.  

15. Catch Fireflies  

During summer fireflies (or lightning bugs) come outside at night. Fireflies are bugs that light up during the evening to attract mates or prey. If you live in the Eastern part of the US or visiting, you can see them. You can observe the fireflies flying or try to catch some of them. Of course, you let them go, but it is fun to observe them. 

16. Go to a State Park 

17. Go to a garden. Most major cities have a garden where you can use local plants and flowers. Some are self-guided, while others have guides.  

18. Go to a parade 

Most towns have a parade around the Fourth of July or Memorial Day.  

19. Start a garden 

If you enjoy the outdoors and have a green thumb, starting a garden is a great idea. You can have a small vegetable garden or a fruit garden. First, find a location in your yard that has access to sunlight. Most vegetables need at least six to eight hours of sunlight. Dark leafy greens will need some shade. Your location should also drain well and not have standing water. Avoid areas that receive high winds or a lot of foot traffic. Check the quality of your soil. You will need rich-quality soil for plants to grow. Check which plants can grow in your area. To check for your growing zone, go to the USDA website to find your hardiness of the zone. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map will let out what zone you are in. Once you find that out, you can search which plants will grow in your zone. If you want flowers, you can have a floral garden. 

20. Go to a block party 

21. Attend an outdoor play 

Some cities have outdoor plays you can attend. It usually takes place at a community park. Check your local newspaper or search online for the days and locations of these events. 

Summer Bucket List: Indoor Activities 

1. Make Ice cream sandwiches and an ice cream party

When I was younger, I and my sister would make ice cream sandwiches. We would use some of our favorite store-bought cookies, like Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies. 

 We would place our favorite store-bought ice cream on one cookie and then place another cookie on top. Making ice cream sandwich cookies from scratch would also be a fun activity to do. 

 27 Homemade Ice cream Sandwich  via Country Living 

Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe via NY Times 

2. Have a Staycation 

If you don’t enjoy traveling, you can do a staycation. You take a nap or spend a few hours by yourself. Once you rest you can spend time with your family. 

3. Have a tea party 

4. See a new movie at your local theater 

Summer is the time to watch blockbuster movies. The New York Times has a great list of movies for the summer. My top favorite is Lion King and Toy Story 4. 

5. Go to the museum 

Museum during the summer sometimes offers free or discounted events. 

6. Go to a library 

Your local library is not just a source of information but also a place to find free movies and books. Check out your local library to see what new movies or books they may have for the summer. Also, ask your local librarian what events are happening in the summer.  Libraries usually have a summer reading program for children and events for the whole family. 

7. Make popsicles

The temperatures are going up which means you crave certain treats. One of those treats is to Make some healthy versions by pouring some delicious fruit, yogurt, and honey. Put the mixtures in popsicle molds and add wooden sticks. Then freeze for six hours. Then you can enjoy your nice treat! 

8. Watch a Summer Movie Marathon

Get your favorite Block Buster Movies or watch a few classic summer movies. Here are some of the movies you can start with: 

"The Sandlot" 

"West Side Story"

"It Takes Two"

"A Goofy Movie" 



"The Babysitters Club Movie"

"Independence Day" 

"National Lampoon's Vacation"

"The Parent Trap (either version)"

"My Girl"

"Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's is Dead" 

"Rear Window" 

"Now and Then" 

"Weekend at Bernie's" 

"I Know What You Did Last Summer" 

"Fried Green Tomatoes"

"Field of Dreams"




"Troop Beverly Hills" 

9. Host a Potluck Dinner  

Now is the time to host a potluck dinner. Invite your foodie friends and ask them to bring their favorite dish! Decorate your home with a nice floral centerpiece. If you don’t have a green thumb add faux florals instead. If florals aren’t your thing, add some twinkle lights or candles. Make a playlist of your favorite music. Then make some wonderful drinks, and food, and then enjoy!

10. Read a new book 

Need a book to read on the beach? Read a new book, it can be a genre you never read, a classic novel, or a recently released book. You may find a new favorite book!

11. Go to a thrift store 

You can find some great items at your local thrift or consignment shop. Not only can you find fashion but books, dishes, knick-knacks, and other goods. You be surprised at what you may find when you go there. 

12. Host a game night 

Bring out your favorite games or buy your favorite games! Don’t forget to ask your guest to bring their favorite games. Make it some of your favorite snacks and drinks for your friends or family to enjoy! 

13. Have a Book Club 

To host a book club, find out who you want to invite. Then figure out what the purpose of the club would be. Discuss with those in the club where you want to meet and what books you should nominate. Then define how what format you want the club to have. 

For more ideas on how to start a book club, read this article by Penguin Random House. 

14. Finish A DIY Project 

Use a few of your weekends to complete those DIY Projects you never finished. 

15. Have a Detox from Technology 

Spend a day at home without using any of your technology. Spend time with friends or family. You can also use this time to spend time alone just relaxing or even learning a new thing. Whatever you do take time to enjoy your life and do around you. 

16. Go to an aquarium 

17. Go to a play
Most towns have a community theater or playhouse. You get a chance to see local talent perform new and old plays. Most of these events are affordable. 

18. Go to a Winery

19. Got to a painting event or class

20. Got to an escape room.

If you like to solve mysteries and don't mind being in trapped in a room this would be a perfect event for you. 

21. Attend a cooking class

22. Attend a dance class 

23. Attend a workout class 

25. Try new food 

Never had sushi before, now is the time to try. Think about a food you never had and try it. Look for the best restaurant that specializes in that dish. Take a look and see if there are any restaurant deals or specials. Also, find out if you have to make reservations to go. If you do not want to go out, you can always order the dish to be sent to your home. For those who love to cook, you can try to make a new dish. Search for recipes and then check to see if you have any ingredients on hand. Don’t have the ingredients you need? Get what you need by ordering online and opting for delivery. You can also make a quick run to the store. 

Check my Current Faves Page for summer goodies to help you get started. 


Saturday, June 1, 2024

Music Themed Books to Read


Books for Music Lovers 

If you are a music lover and enjoy reading books, you will love the recommendations I share today. In honor of Juneteenth and Black Music Month, I recommend music books. Black Music Month was first started by former President Jimmy Carter, declaring the month on June 7, 1979. The fight to establish the bill recognizing Black Music Month lasted for over a decade, led by Dyana Williams, Kenneth Gamble, and Ed Wright. In 2000, former President Bill Clinton made it official when he signed the bill. Black Music Month celebrates the contributions and history of Black artists in all genres. 

These books reflect the love of Black music and celebrate Black freedom. 

Contains affiliate links and widgets from Collective Voice and Books Amillion in which I earn a small commission for you clicking and or purchasing any of these items. Thank you for your support! 

Fiction Books for Music Lovers 

Adult Romance 

A Love Song for Rickie Wild 

A book centered around music that I love. Rickie Wilde is a florist who opens a shop in Harlem. After wandering in Harlem, she meets a mysterious stranger. She continues to see the stranger and feels a powerful pull on him. The stranger is a jazz player with a strange and secretive past. 

I enjoyed the music references, especially the ones from the Harlem Renaissance. There are so many songs or singer references I created a playlist in honor of the book. 


Where to find the book:  Love Song for Ricky Wilde, Here Here and your local library 

Honey and Spice 

A young woman named Kiki Banjo that runs a student radio station named Brown Sugar meets a cute boy in the dorms. Malakai Korede is a charming and popular boy. She is trying hard to resist in charismatic and intelligent ways. After kissing him at an event, they go viral. They decide to use this popularity to become a couple as a way to do their school projects. 

I loved this book and all the music and pop culture references. All the songs make a great playlist. Is perfect for those who love R&B and, Pop, and Hip- Hop music. 

Where to find the book: Honey and Spice, Here and Here, and your local library 

Good Morning, Love

 Carli Henton, a musician and songwriter, aspires to follow her father’s path. To meet her goal, she works as a junior account manager at a media company to cover her rent. 

While working, she continues to write songs. While working she meets up and rising star Tau Anderson. His appeal is alluring, and she finds it hard not to mix business and pleasure. 

Where to find the book: Good Morning, Love, Here

Here and your local library 

The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes

Atonia known as Toni, grew up in bars across the Eastern coast. Growing up around music influenced her to become a rock star Now as a teen she is looking to get famous. Sebastian Quick is a man who seems like he is her ticket to fame. But Seb leaves her behind. 

Toni is now an adult and is making a name for herself. Her friend suggests she join a popular group called the Lilys to get famous. She hits it off with the Lilys until she discovers their manager is Sebastian Quick. Despite leaving her years ago she still has a soft spot for Seb. 

 The author, Xio Axelrod gives a background on one of the character’s mothers. Axlerod gives a glimpse into how and why Antonia loves music. She was surrounded by music at a young age. 

Where to find the book: The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes,  Here , Here   and your local library 

Young Adult Romance Books 

Love Radio 

Prince Jones has his own segment on a hip-hop radio station. Jones dishes out advice to the lovelorn. 

Jones always wanted to fall in love, but he didn’t have time. Prince is the primary caregiver of his sick mother and younger brother. Dani Ford is not checking for him or anyone. Dani is focused on completing her senior year and focuses on her future. One thing that may keep her from going to college is her essay. But something that happened months ago is causing her to have writer’s block... 

One day Dani and Prince meet. Prince is smitten but she is not sold on dating him. She agrees to allow him to take her on three dates. While on these three dates, he has to prove he is a good person to date. 


Where to find the book: Love RadioHereHere , and your local library 

Children Fiction

I got the rhythm

After a visit to the park, a mother and child ge stepped away from the music. The rhythm comes from the world around them. From the street performers to the ice cream seller. I enjoyed reading this book to my former students because they love music and dancing. 

Where to find the book: I got the rhythm Here, here , and local library 

Every Little Thing

Based on Bob Marley’s songs. The book reminds children a hug can make that after rain comes sunshine and things better. Includes Marley’s song with new verses. The illustrations are beautiful and the words to the song will make any child like to hear. 

 Where to find the book: Every Little ThingHereHere or your local library 

Hymn books for those who love music 

Lift Every Voice and Sing II Pew EDITION An African Hymnal

If you grow up in a church that sings hymns this book has some well-known hymns. 

Where to find the book: Lift Every Voice Sing II and Here or your local library 

History Books of Music Lovers 

Sing for Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Song 

Contains songs and photographs from the Civil Rights movement. Include first-hand accounts of people involved in the movement. 

Where to find the book Sing for Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Song Here, Here or local library 

Singing in My Soul: Black Gospel Music in a Secular Age by Jerma A Jackson 

Goes over the history of Black Gospel music. From the early starts in the church to when gospel artists became popular. Delves into the discussion of can a gospel artist can be popular in the secular world. 

Where to find the book; Singing in My Soul: Black GospelHere, and at your local library 

May We Forever Stand 

Imani Perry writes about the history of the Black National Anthem, entitled "Lift Every Voice and Sing". Instead of focusing on the writers of the song, Perry examines "the collective embrace of the song as an Anthem." How the song is significant to the life of Black people. 

Where to find the book: May We Forever Stand, Here, and your local library 

The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from African to The United States 

The author gives us insight into the roots of Black music from African myths, music, and folklore. 

Where to find the book: The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from African to The United StateHere, Here and at your local library 

Shine Bright A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop

Danyel Smith is a music journalist who delves into the history of Black women's influence and involvement in pop music. Her goal is to make "Black women who create music to be known and understand..."It is a celebration of Black women in music, a history of them, and a musical journey. I love how the author puts her personal stories and connections to these singers.

 I was surprised that she included Phillis Wheatley in the book. Phillis was an enslaved woman who wrote poetry. She makes the connection with Wheatley's body of works. Wheatley's writing indirectly influences Black music writers. That all of these women have the connection of seeking freedom in their writing. 

Where to find the book: Shine Bright A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop, Here and Your Local Library 

Blues and Legacies and Black Feminism by Angela Y. Davis 

Davis provides the historical and social importation of performances of Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Billy Holliday. How "their recorded performances divulge unacknowledged traditions of feminist consciouses in working-class black communities." 

Where to find the book: Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie HolidayHere or in Your Local Library 

Autobiographies and Biographies of Music Artists 

The Meaning of Mariah Carey 

Mariah writes her autobiography. She talks about her little Mariah. The child that always yearned. She claims craving young Mariah Carey is in her songs. Reading it will help you realize the meaning behind some of her songs. She also provides insight into how she sings. 

The preface was also interesting because it gives a little background to her love of Christmas. “They remind me we can be timeless.” She also references notable artists such as Nat King Cole who influenced her to make a Christmas Album. 

I love learning about her life but also getting a background in her songs and music style. Her family influenced a lot of this by exposing her to different genres of music. 

Where to find the book: The Meaning of Mariah CareyHere, or at your local library 

Straighten Up and Fly Right A biography of Nat King Cole

Discuss Nat King Cole's early life. He also mentions how he started as a pianist and an Olympic leader in his teens. Then I was in a jazz trio and later went solo. 

Where to find the book: Straighten Up and Fly Right, Here, and your local library 

Shout Sister Shout

Biography of gospel music singer Rosetta Tharpe. Her music style and guitar playing influenced Etta James, Little Richard, and Eric Clapton.

Where to find the book: Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Here or at your local library 

Bessie Smith: A Poet's Biography of a Blues Legend 

Bessie Smith was a successful vaudeville performer who later became one of the highest African American performers Of the Roaring Twenties. Talks about her personal and career life. 

Bessie Smith A Poet's Biography of a Blues LegendHere or at Your local library 

My Love Story 

Tina Turner talks about her life and career. Discusses her upbringing in Nutbush, Tennesse to her raise and fame. She discusses how her wedding and marriage to Ike Turner were different from her marriage to her second husband. It is interesting to her how she felt about her two marriages. I love the fact she was able to find a healthy relationship. 

Where to find the book: My Love Story, Here or Your Local Library 


What is some music-themed books you have read or want to read?  Let me know in the comments. 

More books to read: 

Books written by Black Women

Spring Romance Books

Links to Spotify playlist based on books: 

Playlist for Long Song for Ricki Wilde and Honey and Spice 

 Playlist for Long Song for Ricki Wilde 

Honey and Spice Playlist

Black Music Month Ask 

Pick Your Favorite Songs by Black Artists by Answering these 

30 Questions

 My playlist based on the answers: 

Black Music Month Asks Play List